The islands are resilient and are improving quickly. The best thing for the islands and its people are for visitors to return and in particular, for the crewed yacht charter industry to insert funds back into the economy of the USVI and BVI. The BVI officially opened its doors to tourists on November 1 and one of our multi-repeat clients was the first to check into the area that day. Like so many of you, Carefree Yacht Charters is committed and eager to help rebuild the islands and we believe that the 2017/2018 season will be a special time to visit and support the Caribbean.
Update 12/10/2017: Charter updates from a Veteran Captain
Captain Jim of 56' Catamaran Copper Penny, is one of our trusted sources regarding current charters in the USVI and BVI. Check out his short videos below to catch a glimpse of some popular establishments and anchorages including some scenes from Anegada on November 25, Pirates in the Bight at Norman Island on December 7, plus The Soggy Dollar Bar in White Bay on Jost Van Dyke on December 9. Captain Jim has already been out and about on several charters in the USVI & BVI this season and he told us this: "I’ve been on charter for the last seven nights and I can tell you honestly it’s business as usual! I’ve had no problem delivering an awesome product. I’ve chartered in many destinations, including the Leewards and the Windwards and I can say that the current state of the BVI’s is great. We’ve got great provisioning, beach bars, happy staff everywhere, the anchorages are way less busy, and the reefs are unspoiled."
Update 12/1/2017: Book and Give Back with the CYBA Rewards Program
Carefree Yacht Charters is an Active Member of CYBA and excited to introduce the CYBA (Charter Yacht Brokers Association International) Rewards Program! The program will award a $100 Gift Card to each CYBA Member who books a charter to embark in hurricane affected areas between December 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018. The $100 Gift Card is for the Charter Guests and is meant to be spent in the areas most affected by the recent hurricanes including the USVI and BVI. This program was created to help areas affected by the hurricanes in a grass roots way by giving charter guests a little spending money and encouraging them to visit local bars, restaurants and shops. It is CYBA's way of getting funds into the hands of business owners and those who need it most to continue with the rebuild of the area. The rewards are valid for new bookings confirmed after December 1, 2017. Contact Us directly for more details regarding the program.
November 25, 2017: Carefree Yacht Charters attends the USVI crewed charter yacht show
Carefree Yacht Charters had the pleasure of attending the November, 2017 crewed charter yacht show in St. Thomas, USVI. Hosted by the VI Professional Charter Association (VIPCA) and attended by 66 brokers plus 36 crewed charter yachts, the show nearly filled the available docks at Yacht Haven Grande Marina. The success and attendance at the show is further proof that the crewed yacht charter industry in the USVI and BVI are back on the map and open for business. This years show was particularly important as it also allowed Lynne to get a first hand glimpse of the area. Having owned and operated her own crewed charter yacht out of St. Thomas for 12 years and then subsequently having spent the last 11 years attending these annual crewed charter yacht shows in the Virgin Islands, Lynne is extremely familiar with the area and was pleasantly surprised by the progress, the views of green hillsides, the array of yachts on display plus the positive energy at this years show. Oriel Blake, the executive director of VIPCA, had these comments about the success of the show and the destination in general: “The good news is that now having surveyed both the USVI and the BVIs we are confident in reassuring the world that our cruising grounds retained their natural beauty. Our surveys show that most of the beaches and the waters are in excellent condition and ready for visitors, boaters, snorkelers and beach lovers. Beyond charter yachts, other signs that the U.S. Virgin Islands marine tourism industry has successfully pushed the re-set and re-open button is the visual from the show itself. From a second-floor balcony at IGY’s Yacht Haven Grande marina, two super yachts on the docks, a cruise ship on port call and day boats providing excursions to these cruise visitors were all visible in the background of the yachts showing."
Update 10/10/17: Our Thoughts In General
There are charters going out in early November in the Virgin Islands. The majority of our clients are happy to carry forward with their charters as planned and a we are additionally getting inquiries for new charters. Tourism is the economy in the Virgin Islands and we believe they will make a huge push to restore their popular yacht stops before the holidays. The beach bars are made of simple construction, can therefore blow away fast but can also pop back up quickly. The larger hotels that took substantial damage will typically take advantage of a storm like this to remodel and will close for a year. In a typical week on charter in the BVI, the only large resort you may anchor in front of is the Bitter End Yacht Club, but very few charter guests actually go ashore to visit. There are a couple of other anchorages in the immediate area that Captain's can opt for instead. The plant greenery is returning and should be back after the upcoming rainy season. Unless you know the snorkel sites from years of chartering in the area, they won't look any different to the average snorkeler. There will be demolished structures around the islands, but they will most likely be there for years to come and some of them might actually be from hurricanes from 10 years ago. You don't typically spend a lot of time around towns on the bigger islands on charter. Rather your anchorages are mostly uninhabited with a beach bar or two, so unless you ask to go ashore to see some destruction out of curiosity, you won't see most of the damaged structures. In our opinion, the Virgin Islands will emerge in a more authentic state for the next year with smaller beach bars serving BBQ chicken vs busy beach bars where it takes 20 minutes to get a drink. Having the opportunity to cruise the BVI's in this authentic and uncrowded state will be a plus. In addition, being a part of the islands return to "a new normal" may offer charter guests a truly meaningful experience.
Update 10/3/17 Sentiments from Derek Munro
We couldn't agree more with Derek's sentiment. This year and next will be a special time to visit and support the Caribbean.
This year the Caribbean will be as it was 30 years ago. There WILL BE really friendly people on a beach cooking you fried chicken on a BBQ in a shack they have created. It WILL be lots of fun on the beach. It WILL give you and your Client massive satisfaction if you take the opportunity to get off the boat for a day or two each week and in each Island you visit, to help the locals clean up and rebuild. — Derek Munro, Director at Yacht Consultancy Ltd